The stereotypical rock drum fill might be a measure of 16th notes cascading around the kit from snare to toms, but there are many other options. As we progress as players, we want to increase our vocabulary of beats and fills so that we have a variety of both to draw from when playing songs. Listen closely to the music you like, and you should hear many more options than “cliched” or orthodox fills.

This lesson will focus on one of those options—fills with crashes. As drummers, part of our responsibility is choosing the right fill for the song. Sometimes a crash or two in just the right place is the perfect choice. Other times, incorporating crashes with 8th- or 16th-note figures is a better fit. This concept is utilized with great results in the following song examples.

These exercises and examples are taken from my book, Chart-Topping Drum Fills [onlinedrummer.com], where I explore drum fills from the ‘60s through today. The book is designed to develop your skills through sequential lessons with an emphasis on coordination, vocabulary, and fill selection.

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